Great White North

I've heard that the Canadian illustrator Thoreau MacDonald, son of the Group of Seven painter J.E.H. MacDonald, used to draw landscapes only from memory, after he'd had a walk and come home. The cartoonist Seth talks about it here.

These scenes around Trevor's childhood home are always so striking when we first come up for a visit, I thought I would try to draw them from memory after coming in from a walk or a drive. I was happier with the results than when I drew a scene while looking directly at it (not posted here).

A materials note/aside: Craig Thompson is right - the Pentel pocket brush pen does work great on a toothier paper, in this case, a 9 x 12 Canson mix media sketchbook.


Ten Years Ago

Two kids got married by a New York civil servant named Ms. Johnson, ate lunch at Luther's Fried Chicken, and wandered through a cold Central Park night looking for the ice skating rink. Happy tenth, teb.



This one is for the hauntingly beautiful heroine of Craig Thompson's new graphic novel, HABIBI. It comes out next September, but Craig brought a pre-production copy to the ACA residency, along with a portfolio of original pages and individually bound earlier drafts of each chapter, and left them in the studio for our lucky group to read. Without giving away the story, I can say that it is a book you want to curl up with long into the night. If you pause to sleep, you will have fitful dreams, and when you wake, you will wake to the treat of entering again into its dense and extravagant world. At almost 700 pages, it is a journey, and one you won't forget.

 Aaaaaaand this one is a group portrait of the superfriends: the eight associate artists that Craig assembled to work and play together in Florida. HABIBIfied! Apologies to Craig and my fellow associates.

More artists' HABIBI and Craig Thompson fanart at the Fanart Friday tumblr.



A fanart tribute to one of the characters in Paul Pope's beautifully drawn sci-fi sex and love romance, 100%.

It's hard not to love Strel - she's a mom and a club manager for strippers, a bad-ass who hates violence and dreams of one day owning her own...

...coffee roasting company.

I learned a lot from ogling Paul's work - his brush and ink work is out of this world.

Check out more Paul Pope tributes at the Fanart Friday! blog.


Today I had a couple reminders of how easy it is to die, or get seriously hurt, and it made me think of all that I want to get done first.


Svet's Pet

A sketch for some Svetlana Chmakova fanart I'll be putting up tomorrow on Fanart Friday, a blog some artists who met at the Atlantic Center are contributing to every week.

Stay tuned! The artists who contribute are great, as are the artists they honor! Past artists honored are the wonderful Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, as well as the talented Sam Hiti, whose new graphic novel, Death Day, blew away a lot of minds at ACA.


Hard Labor

This week I'm working on a new draft of a chapter titled "Labor." It's very...laborious.


My Fellow Thompsonites

In addition to working with Master Artist Craig Thompson, I got to spend 3 weeks at ACA sharing a studio with these beautiful people. All of them do comics; all of them are wicked talented. Here they are, in no particular order, with links to their work online.

Sarah Joan Mokhtar published her first comic at the age of 15 in a Malaysian magazine called "Ujang," which translates into something like "dude." She's working on a memoir called "Rojak," about growing up mixed, Muslim, and incredibly curious. She is a bad-ass comics artist, illustrator, muralist and mother of two!

Jed McGowan is 6'4 but he FEELS like he's 8 feet tall. He has a new graphic novel out called "Lone Pine" that is a meditative, David Lynch-like mystery printed beautifully in black and one spot color. His next book, "Take Care," is a great read, heartbreaking and suspenseful, and a cool experiment in drawing. He's putting it out in chunks on his website.

Jake Wyatt is an exuberant ball of energy and talent. He does stuff with color that blows my mind. He is currently working on an epic tale of magic and redemption set in 1920s New Orleans, and a shorter detective comic titled "Hawaiian Dick."

Cecilia Latella lives in Naples, Italy and has a PhD in Comparative Literature. She also has a thing for armor, swords and medieval tales. Her main comic project, "Asanor," will be something like 1000 pages!

Dave Kiersh has been making amazing mini-comics and graphic novels for awhile, and his style and storytelling are unmistakable. His current project is called "Afterschool Special" and is a love story between two outsiders in a teenage wasteland.

Pat Grant is an Australian artist and writer working on "Blue," an unbelievably original, funny and disturbing graphic novel about coming of age in a changing coastal town, amidst economic downturn, white flight and immigration. He also does really cool zines.

And last but not least, Sam Alden is finishing college while whipping out beautiful ink drawings and watercolors like, all the time. His current project, "Eighth Grade," is sure to be an amazing book when it's done. Keep an eye out for all these people!


Quick and Dirty

One thing I learned at comix camp is that dialogue is not easy to do. Luckily there were many colorful characters around to draw from. That's Sam Alden on the right, boy genius and amazing artist. Craig Thompson in the middle, always supportive.


Coming back from paradise with a lot of pictures in my head

I just spent three weeks at the Atlantic Center for the Arts with Craig Thompson, Paul Pope, and Svetlana Chmakova as master artists, and 23 other associate artists, all amazing in their own right. These are some of my journal pages.